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Opeth - Morningrise CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.72 | 745 ratings

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4 stars Opeth's second album is basically the first one bigger and better- great to see a band that learns so quickly from their mistakes. Only one year after Orchid, Morningrise visits the same territory but sounds like

A) the budget was much higher, and B) a lot more thought was put into what the songs were about.

With better production the force and skill of their playing comes across, with some phenomenal bass and rhythym moments, and that swirling guitar riff that closes Black Rose Immortal is one of the best encapsulations of despair and madness I've ever heard. Akerfeldt still growls most of the time, but the sqawky high moments on Orchid are fewer and after Orchid's abortive mumbly echoed attempts at clean vocals, he continues to develop his voice here- I love the layered choral effect that suddenly appear in Advent on the line "We survey the slopes."

Something different is attempted on To Bid You Farewell, the first of what would be a series of big ballads, usually one per album. It's probably their worst as the music doesn't develop much and Akerfeldt still seems to be holding his voice in but it is their first and does contribute to the album's structure. I used to think the record would be stronger if it finished with Black Rose Immortal but I tried listening to it like that and what I got was a depressing, harsh, finish to the album. To Bid You Farewell sweetens the blow a little bit and balances the record out.

The biggest improvement is probably emotional. I couldn't really tell you about the feelings on Orchid, it was just nice playing. But despair and awe and dread seep out of the massive Black Rose Immortal, heartbreak and loss out of Nectar, grief for a lost one on The Night And The Silent Water. As a result, I don't get the various parts of the songs confused with one another as I did on Orchid, they have individuality this time out.

Looking back, it should've been clear from Morningrise that Opeth had the potential to be gods. Morningrise is not the greatest album, but it is one of the clearest cases I've ever seen of a band fixing things without sounding like they're trying to fix things. It may be a little lacking in variety for those who aren't keen in death metal, but otherwise this is a thoroughly respectable second album.

(And they were only 22!)

Textbook | 4/5 |


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